O. Respighi: Pines of Rome

I lived in Italy from 1980 to 1982. I’m not too familiar with Respighi’s work, aside from this, which I’ve only heard bits from over the years on classical music channels. The title was enough to grab my attention.

This picture should explain why.


These are umbrella pine trees and they are all over Italy, but in Rome they are particularly striking, especially when you catch a glimpse of them at sunset running along the crest of a hill.


Once in Paestum, I parked my rental car under one in a parking lot. When I got out, I looked down and saw a small nut about the size of a pistachio, but harder and smoother. I cracked it open and ate the meat. It was a pignolo, a pine nut, like the ones you grind up with basil and olive oil and parmesan and salt and pepper to make pesto. What a nice surprise.

These pines are called stone pines and here’s what Wikipedia says about them: “The stone pine, with the botanical name Pinus pinea, is also called the Italian stone pine, umbrella pine and parasol pine.

Respiphi’s Pines of Rome dates to 1924. It has four movements depicting Roman Pines in different places in the city.

      1.1 Pines of the Villa Borghese (I pini di Villa Borghese: Allegretto vivace)
      1.2 Pines Near a Catacomb (Pini presso una catacomba: Lento)
      1.3 Pines of the Janiculum (I pini del Gianicolo: Lento)
    1.4 Pines of the Appian Way (I pini della Via Appia: Tempo di marcia)

Respiphi became music master at St. Cecilia’s church in Trastevere. I visited the church in 2010 when on my honeymoon. It is build on the ruins of a Roman Villa, church, and mausoleum. Below the church you can wander through the streets of ancient Rome and there’s a beautiful medieval chapel under the church as well. Here are some pictures I shot back then.

May 26 Rome 210

May 26 Rome 286

May 26 Rome 277

May 26 Rome 276

May 26 Rome 275

May 26 Rome 254

May 26 Rome 253

May 26 Rome 247

May 26 Rome 237

Here’s another piece called Suite “Sinfonia” in E major (1907):


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

8 Responses to O. Respighi: Pines of Rome

  1. I like to learn something new every day. Thank you for helping get it done before 6am. I’m still trying to carve out a little research time to entertain your invitation to guest blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. … and good luck with the HD.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kvennarad says:

    I enjoyed ‘Pines’ very much. Just about to listen to ‘Sinfonia’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: July 26, birthday of Ada Gentile | Kurt Nemes' Classical Music Almanac

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